How NurseGrid Quickens Product Improvement Through Data

Introduction

NurseGrid’s goal is to unite the largest workforce in healthcare with cutting edge staffing and resource technology. NurseGrid creates tools for communication and collaboration for nurses, who need help with their workflows to boost engagement, productivity, and save on costs. Over half a million nurses at healthcare facilities across the country use NurseGrid’s mobile app to manage time-consuming administrative tasks.

What is the NurseGrid elevator pitch?

We’re a company founded by nurses with the premise of trying to relieve the pain points that nurses deal with on a day-to-day basis. Our mission statement involves nurses helping nurses to help make nurses’ lives better.

The pain point for nurses and their management in companies is scheduling. In many clinics, management generates the schedule for these nurses and then they literally hand them a piece of paper printout with their schedule on it, or the nurse has to come in, look at the whiteboard and copy it down. This is just if you work one place or one clinic, in the event you work in multiple clinics, you get three or four pieces of graph paper and tape them together, and then try to figure out where you’re working and not working, and sort of overlay everything. NurseGrid automates this scheduling process and - in addition - makes it super easy for nurses to swap shifts as they desire.

Tell us about yourself and your role at NurseGrid:

I’m Lorenzo and I’m the CTO at NurseGrid. I’ve been here for 15 months. I’ve been in software and development professionally for around 22 years. I’ve worked as a consultant and developer/CTO roles for Fortune 100 companies and have built a lot of software over the years. :)

Over my time, I keep coming back to the same thing which is, people who do technology can do technology for anybody. Very rarely do they choose to do something that makes a difference for other people directly.

I live in Portland and here, CTO roles are a little hard to find. I really believe in my role here and my presence here came together really fast. I have friends and family members that are nurses, so it's a salient pain point for me, so being able to do some good there as well is very beneficial, personally.

What does life as CTO at NurseGrid look like?

I run the engineering and quality assurance teams. We have six frontends which all interact with a giant API on the backend that serves all their needs.

 As a team, we spend our time between customer-driven feature requests and customer work implementations and integrations, and then feature development and innovation in the apps, as well as future product development.

Right now, I’m focused on partner development. At our company, we're partnering with companies in the healthcare space for different reasons that have mutually beneficial offerings to us. These partners want inside our mobile app - and we want a foothold within their hospital systems (which means access to more customers). In this role, I spend a lot of time doing technical feasibility with them and talking about how partnerships would look and work, and also perform from a technical standpoint.

Let’s talk about the data and business intelligence at NurseGrid.

When I started at NurseGrid we were a very small team. We started using a free BI tool and I spun up a clone of our database and basically created a mini-reporting platform there, and then started to look at our data needs and started talking to our customers about what they needed and wanted. It was apparent early on that our needs outperformed the solution we had in place.

Also, we had a relational database in place as well as a non-relational, which made it difficult for reporting purposes in most cases. Now, enter Panoply, we knew we needed a data warehouse to get both data sets aggregated and then sort of somewhat normalized and into an environment that we could basically start transforming that data and send it to our customers, while also operate on it and see trends and start doing analysis for our own individual goals

Now, with Panoply and Chartio in place, we’re set. We can see performance in our product and within our current stack.

What problems were you hired to help solve?

At NurseGrid, we’re a company that’s being asked to do a lot with a little. We are a small team with a lot of attention. For instance, we’re the number one nursing app in the country with the largest participant nurse-based community. Our customers download our app not only because it’s mandated but because it’s connected to everything else. This means we have a high-demand app and therefore the company needed to bring someone in who can bring it all together from a growth and engineering standpoint

NurseGrid needed a team to think at a high systems-level and to help navigate the business  through the pitfalls of growth and stability and security. We needed to prepare for scale, then security and stability -- all in an effort that attempts to decomplexify things. 

Being engineers, we like to make stuff overly difficult.

Which data sources do you bring into Panoply?

We started with production and marrying it with customer data - we have application data in a relational data store (MySQL) and we also use a non-relational data store, for this we use MongoDB as a volatile data store and in that tool, we house a lot of very useful customer interaction data in it. 

Our MongoDB based data, combined with customer data in sources such as Jira and Intercom, paint a 360-degree picture of customer and platform health.

In essence, we wanted a way to join our production and customer health data together and find a source that we could operate on top of. That search ended quickly with Panoply and Chartio.

In our company we use Intercom for customer success - as we have the Intercom bubble in all of our apps and clients. If our customers want to talk to a customer success person, they use Intercom to do so. Some companies like to pull all that data into Salesforce, which is great - but I don’t feel it democratizes this valuable data enough. I’d love to make it more shareable. So, we pull it into Panoply and unleash it in Chartio.

In Panoply, we ingest:

  • MongoDB
  • Intercom
  • Jira
  • MySQL

In the case of Jira, if an issue is reported to us in Intercom and presented to Engineering via Jira - now we can record and track things such as: 

  • Discovery time to ticket
  • Time to resolution
  • Type of issues

In past roles, we’ve considered tools such as Looker and Stitch Data, but honestly, Panoply had all the connectors we needed so our search ended quickly when it came to data aggregation and management.

What’s next for your data stack

We’ve been talking about marketing application data and usage data within our mobile apps. In that case, we’re looking at MixPanel.

What were your requirements?

We needed an ETL solution that was manageable, flexible and very straightforward with little help from engineering. This was a primary driver. We also needed a solution to handle disparate data sources - so we could get all our data in one place.

We also sought a way to bring all our services together so that we had all our suite of services that powered our business. We understand that not all solutions are click and play - but Panoply seems to tick all those boxes.

What was it about Chartio that won NurseGrid over?

So, typically in a company systems are in place that make it very easy for data nerds to get ahold of data and mangle it - but Chartio enables anyone inside a company to be decision makers and self-serve inside a data warehouse. With Chartio and Panoply, we can make data available to those who have a need when they need it. In this world, data can be self-served where anyone can make visualizations on the fly.

What groups inside NurseGrid use data and how do they use it?

We don’t have any marketing data pulled in yet and I imagine it’s coming. 

For now, our primary consumers from a data/business intelligence point of view include our customer success team and implementation team. They understand our product’s adoption and can find problems/action items inside our product to do more training or re-evangelize our product. They see early how customer issues should inform our product roadmap, see early warnings of churn and as an engineering team, we react accordingly.

Our adoption / sales team looks to data to understand adoption, in order to potentially stoke up more sessions to do training, or re-evangelize the product. They also use data in a myriad of ways around all of those customer success use cases, as well as for just initial implementation. 

They like to peer into data to see how people are taking to the tool set, speed to distribution, all those kinds of good things. Once these data came alive in reporting they hopped on those data points.

In turn, we unveil data and reports to our end customers, so they can digest usage data inside their organizations and evangelize the use of our product within their companies. 

How big is your data team?

Our team is made up of a single individual who’s excited, with Chartio, to not have to write a bunch of queries to get access to her data. She uses existing charts to generate her insights and she finds this incredibly useful and time-saving. 

What’s your favorite Panoply feature?

I love that its a super charged ETL tool - and that’s where I start. I love that Panoply is easy to use, is straightforward and has really great support. Panoply, as a tool, does exactly what I’ve been wanting it to do. 

We love getting data from one place to another - and that’s where Panoply comes in - it’s my sword in my ninja toolbelt.

Thanks for your time, in speaking, Lorenzo!

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